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Arabic Thought Beyond the Liberal Age

  • Knox Hall Room 208 606 West 122nd Street New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)

Please join the Middle East Institute for a book launch and lecture event with guests Max Weiss (Princeton Univ.) and Jens Hanssen (Univ. of Toronto), co-editors of the book Arabic Thought Beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nadha. Introductory remarks by Rashid Khalidi (Columbia Univ.).

The co-editors of the book and Rashid Khalidi who contributed the epilogue will discuss the state of modern Arab intellectual history five decades after Albert Hourani wrote his important Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age. They ask what were the stakes of Arab modernity in during the foundational Nahda period, what were they in 1962? And what remains in the present moment and what are the demands of Nahda-studies in the contemporary world?

Jens Hanssen is Associate Professor of Arab Civilization, Middle Eastern and modern Mediterranean history at the University of Toronto. In the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations he teaches modern and contemporary Arab intellectual history; the late Ottoman Empire; and the politics of Archaeology. In the Department of History, he teaches settler colonialism in Palestine; liberation struggles, decolonization and counter-insurgency in Asia and Africa; and urban colonialism in the modern Mediterranean.

His past book publications include Fin de Siècle Beirut (OUP, 2005); with Max Weiss, Arabic Thought beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda (CUP, 2016). The second CUP volume, Arabic Thought Against the Authoritarian Age, also co-edited with Max Weiss (Princeton), is forthcoming. He is currently co-editing the OUP Handbook of Contemporary Middle Eastern and North African History with Amal Ghazal. He also holds a SSHRC Insight Grant (2014-2018) on German-Jewish Echoes in 20th Arab Thought which has yielded, inter alia, two articles: “Kafka and Arabs” (Critical Inquiry, 2012), and “Translating Revolution: Hannah Arendt and Arab Political Culture” 

Max Weiss is Associate Professor of History and Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He is the author of In the Shadow of Sectarianism: Law, Shi`ism, and the Making of Modern Lebanon (Harvard UP, 2010), co-editor (with Jens Hanssen) of Arabic Thought Beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda (Cambridge UP, 2016) and Arabic Thought Against the Authoritarian Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Present (Cambridge UP, forthcoming), and translator, most recently, of Mamdouh Azzam, Ascension to Death (London, 2017). He earned a Ph.D. in Modern Middle East History from Stanford University, held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton University and the Harvard Society of Fellows, and his research has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Commission, the Social Science Research Council, and the Carnegie Corporation. Currently he is writing about the intellectual and cultural history of modern Syria, and translating several works of modern and contemporary Arabic literature.